The iconic Flåm railway was closed on Thursday after a large boulder crashed through a snow barrier overnight, landing on the tracks just north of Myrdal. Rail operator NSB estimated up to 2,500 passengers would be affected by the closure.
“There is a large stone which has fallen down and closed the track,” Ragnhild Aagesen from the National Rail Administration (Jernbaneverket) told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK), early on Thursday morning. “We have summoned a geologist who is coming by helicopter to check the mountains where the boulder fell from. The reason we have closed the track is that we don’t know how the mountain above is looking. We must know if there is a danger of more stones falling.”
The Flåm railway (Flåmsbana) runs for 20 kilometres from Myrdal station to the hamlet of Flåm by the Aurlands fjord. The spectacular track follows a gradient of 864 metres and is a major tourist attraction, drawing 716,000 visitors last year.
Rockfalls occasionally disrupt Norwegian rail lines running through mountains and valleys, like the Flåm line. Last month it was closed due to high avalanche danger. The administration could not say on Thursday morning whether the track could be reopened as soon as the stone was removed, or if more loose rocks overhead would keep it closed for longer.
NSB said tourists traveling to Flåm from Oslo would catch the train to Ål then be taken to Flåm by bus, while those coming from Bergen would stop at Voss, and be taken to Flåm from there. Press officer Erik Lødding said it was disappointing for those tourists who’d come to Flåm on Sognefjord cruises, who would miss out on the scenic route.